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Historic England Research Records

Oliver Cromwells Battery

Hob Uid: 230671
Location :
Hampshire
Winchester
Olivers Battery
Grid Ref : SU4590027860
Summary : An Iron Age enclosure later reused as a Civil War battery, situated on the crest of a ridge circa 2.5 kilometres south west of Winchester. The sub-rectanhular earthwork has maximum internal dimensions of 75 metres by 66 metres. A bank extends around the western, northern and eastern sides of the earthwork, but is poorly preserved or absent along the southern side. A bank and ditch which formerly extended extended south eastwards from the south west corner of the site have been destroyed by modern building. Excavation of the bank and ditch occured in the 1930s. The evidence from this excavation has been interpreted as suggesting that the earthwork was constructed in the Iron Age but that it did not remain long in use. However, additional investigations have also attributed the earthworks to the Roman period. A single Anglo-Saxon inhumation burial was also found during the excavation, (SU 42 NE 25), the grave cut into the bank at the north east corner of the site. Grave goods, including a silver- pommell scramasax, an iron spearhead and a bronze hanging bowl, were found accompanying the burial. Reuse of the earthwork is thought to have occured during the Civil War. Cromwell is known to have had two batteries outside Winchester during the siege of the city in 1645, one to the north and one to the west, and it has been suggested that this was the site of the western battery. The site was also used to quarter allied troops during the Napoleonic and First World Wars. Scheduled.
More information : [SU 4590 2786] Oliver Cromwell's Battery [G.T.] (1)

Oliver's Battery or Cromwell's Battery stands on the eastern crest of a broad chalk ridge 400 ft. above O.D. The sides bounded by a bank 15 ft. wide and 4 ft. high and a ditch 20-25 ft. wide and nearly 5 ft. deep, measure on the north 73 yds., south 85 yds., east 105 yds. and west 90 yds. Excavations in 1930 and 31 showed that there had been prehistoric occupation of the site, pottery ranging from Early Hallstatt to La Tene II gave a general period of occupation from 800 to 50 B.C., but no earthworks associated with this were found. The existing earthworks were those of a fort of early Roman date, conforming to a small class of 'forts of necessity' made during the actual progress of the conquest. Probable original entrances were found near the centres of the E. and W. sides. The Roman finds consisted of a few sherds of pottery and a bronze ring, but their Stratification and those of finds of earlier and later periods indicated Roman dating for the existing earthworks. The only existing entrance on the W. side of the S.W. corner was found to be of later date. A Saxon burial was found in the rampart in the N.E. corner of the enclosure. The earthwork was also probably one of the batteries reported to have been used by Cromwell during the siege of Winchester in 1645, finds of this period from the site consisting of a large black glass bottle, a knife, a jingle spur and a pair of farrier's pliers. (2)

The earthwork has been much damaged since the O.S.25" survey of 1909 and the outer ditch destroyed on the south and east. There is a simple entrance gap at the S.W. corner but modern building has destroyed all traces of the bank and ditch (shown on O.S. 25" 1909 and possibly a covered way) which formerly approached this entrance from the south and east. W.J. Andrews records the possibility of two opposing original entrances on the E. and W. sides. These cannot be identified with any certainty from visual inspection, though a denudation of the bank towards the centre of the eastern side may represent one entrance. The results of excavation together with the shape and size of the earthwork point to a Roman origin rather than a prehistoric one. Its use in Cromwellian times is reasonably attested by its name occurring on the O.S. 1" within 170 years of the event, and by the finds made within the enclosure.
A 25" survey has been made. (3)

No change. Published 1/1250 revised. (4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1930-38
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Source Number : 2
Source : Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 5-9, 163-8
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Vol(s) : 12, 1932-4
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 26/06/1961
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : 16/04/1968
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Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 10/08/1995
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Source : SU 42 NE 26 (Oliver Cromwells Battery) (1961)
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Source : SU 42 NE 26 (Oliver Cromwells Battery) (SU 4527) (1968)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Enclosure, Fort
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 1645
Monument End Date : 1645
Monument Start Date : 1645
Monument Type : Battery
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Napoleonic War
Monument End Date : 1815
Monument Start Date : 1799
Monument Type : Military Camp
Evidence : Earthwork, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : World War I
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1914
Monument Type : Military Camp
Evidence : Earthwork, Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HA 82a
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HA 82b
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HA 82c
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 42 NE 26
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 42 NE 26
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-06-26
End Date : 1961-06-26
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 42 NE 26
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1968-04-16
End Date : 1968-04-16